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Shopify Plus Pricing: Why You’re Better Off With WooCommerce Instead

Shopify Plus Pricing: Why You're Better Off With WooCommerce Instead

In this Article

We break down Shopify Plus’ pricing and make a strong case that WooCommerce is a better option for most e-commerce brands.

We compared Shopify Plus pricing with WooCommerce running Stripe and found that the former is more expensive for merchants generating sales between $50,000 and $250,000 a month.

Shopify Plus offers a competitive rate for payments but the $2,000 / month platform fee is hard for a smaller e-commerce operation to justify. If they are generating $50,000 in sales a month, the total cost is 6.8% of the store’s revenue. For the same volume, a WooCommerce and Stripe-powered solution the total cost is 4.2%.

Shopify Plus’ high platform fee doesn’t hurt so much when you’re hitting $250,000 a month in sales. WooCommerce is still cheaper if you’re able to negotiate a discount with Stripe, which at that level of sales, should be very doable.

Shopify Plus opportunity costs are much higher. These can’t be quantified but are an important consideration for business owners: what are the growth opportunities beyond e-commerce and does Shopify offer the tools you need to pursue them?

The Backstory

In January this year, Shopify announced their first price hike in 12 years to ‘better serve customers and merchants’. This a move that can be easily justified considering the value they have created for thousands of customers over the years, but inevitable if you look at the stock price performance in the last 12 months.

Price Increase

Source: Shopify Inc. on Google Finance

While it is fair to say that the tech sector has taken a beating, you should remind yourself that, as a listed company, Shopify is accountable to its shareholders as much as its customers. The market may well put pressure on Shopify to revise pricing upwards again or cut costs. Either way, customers are going to be affected.

Shopify Plus Pricing Remained Unchanged…But is it Worth it?

The price increase did not affect Shopify Plus customers who pay a $2,000 / month fee plus transaction costs. The fee structure changes when you’re generating $800,000 a month or more: a flat 0.25% fee applies. This makes Shopify an attractive proposition at the lower end of the market where entrepreneurs and small businesses can set up an online shop quickly and generate sales. Pricing remains accessible until they’ve outgrown the Advanced plan and see the fee increase by 400%.

You get more bang for your buck, indeed, but an extra $1,700 / month is going to hurt if you’re scaling up. If you’re contemplating such an upgrade, you should consider switching to WooCommerce instead.

In this blog post, we compare pricing between WooCommerce and Shopify Plus and argue that the former is a much better option:

  • Shopify Plus has a much higher starting price – $2,000 / month – which is particularly expensive for growing stores.
  • You need development work to make the most of Shopify Plus features. You’ll need to hire a developer to implement many of the Plus features.
  • Opportunity costs are high. Shopify is great for e-commerce, but not so much for publishing content or building more sophisticated digital experiences.

Shopify Plus vs. Shopify – What’s the Difference?

Before comparing Shopify Plus with WooCommerce, let’s see how they’re positioned and what the differences are.

Shopify Plus caters to high-volume, high-revenue stores by offering additional features, a premium support experience, and infrastructure that can handle higher traffic and concurrency. They recommend brands should upgrade to Plus when they reach $80,000 in monthly revenue.

The extra features you get with Shopify Plus are:

  • Unlimited staff accounts
  • Shopify Flow (automation tool) *1
  • Advanced report builder *1
  • Third-party calculated shipping rates *1
  • Customizable checkout
  • Exclusive Shopify Plus apps
  • High-performance infrastructure
  • 24/7 priority technical support by phone, email, or live chat
  • Dedicated account manager

*1 Also available on Shopify Advanced.

The question is this: is there enough value in the Shopify Plus offer to warrant an additional investment of $1,700 / month?

Let’s set the scene first. This pricing falls squarely in the ‘enterprise’ bucket and businesses operating at this level will be paying his kind of bill for other systems.

If you’re generating over $1M in Sales a year and have the resources to improve KPIs – UX, performance, and conversion rates –  then Shopify Plus is likely the better option. You’ll likely need the extra flexibility to improve workflows, integrate with third parties and build custom functions.

Here’s another question: why isn’t there a more competitively priced tier between Shopify Advanced and Shopify Plus? So that stores that are scaling fast are not hit by a huge price increase when they need the extra grunt?

We’re not going to speculate about Shopify Plus’ pricing strategy but it’s fair to say this: there are more pricing options and transparency in the WordPress ecosystem.

Shopify gets great reviews but there are also a lot of negative comments about pricing. We found a few on G2, including:

What do you dislike about Shopify?

Having to pay extra a month for plus to get a lower credit card transaction rate. Everything is credit card based online so it’s more out of pocket upfront monthly that I need to recoup in sales to extend my profits.

– Verified User in Retail, Small-Business (50 or fewer employees)

What do you dislike about Shopify?

Almost everything with paid and it’s not cheap. Also, they banned us for 2 times without any reason. We had all the legal papers, brand registration, company registration, etc…
What problems is Shopify solving and how is that benefiting you?

We were thinking to solve our ecommerce sales problems with shopify but we couldn’t, sadly. We lost 3 months and lost almost 4.000 – 5.000 $ / per month. Plus paids we did to them…

– Faith B, Small-Business (50 or fewer employees)

To be fair, reviews on G2 are mostly positive. Most of the bad reviews are from merchants running smaller stores on their cheaper plans.

How Shopify Plus Features Stack Against WooCommerce

Both Shopify Plus and WooCommerce offer a long list of features. We’ll focus on some of the more relevant for the type of customer that runs a successful e-commerce store.  We’ll cover pricing separately, as it’s a little bit more complex given the different tech and pricing models.

Feature

Shopify Plus

WooCommerce

Staff accounts

Unlimited

Unlimited

Sales channels

Multiple

Via extensions such as:

Facebook for WooCommerce
Pinterest for WooCommerce
TikTok for WooCommerce

Stores

1

Unlimited
(depends on the hosting plan)

Inventory locations

Multiple

Via extensions such as:

Central Stock for WooCommerce
Megaventory Inventory Management
Local Pickup Plus

Discount codes

Yes

Via extensions such as:

WooCommerce Coupon Campaigns
Dynamic Pricing & Discounts

Abandoned cart recovery

Yes

Via extensions such as:

Automate Woo
Abandoned Cart Recovery

Gift cards

Yes

Via extensions such as:

Gift Cards Pro for WooCommerce
Gift Registry for WooCommerce

Customer segmentation

Yes

Via extensions such as:

Metorik

Marketing automation

Yes

Via extensions such as:

WooCommerce Drip
Automate Woo

Ecommerce automations

Yes

There are over 100 extensions in the Store Management category of the Extension Store that can help with automations.

Shipping discount

Yes

Via extensions such as:

Conditional Shipping and Payments
Dynamic Pricing & Discounts

Fraud analysis

Yes

Via extensions such as:

Dynamic Pricing & Discounts
WooCommerce Anti-Fraud

Shopify POS

Yes

Via extensions such as:

 

Point of Sale for WooCommerce
FooSales Point of Sale (POS) for WooCommerce

International commerce

Yes

Via extensions such as:

MultilingualPress
Currency Switcher For WooCommerce
Country Restrictions for WooCommerce

Shopify Flow (automation tool)

Yes

Via extensions such as:

Automated Woo
WooCommerce Zapier
Power Automate for WooCommerce

Advanced report builder        

Yes

Via extensions such as:

Cart Reports
Sales Analysis for WooCommerce
Metorik

Third-party calculated shipping rates

Yes

Via extensions such as:

FedEx Shipping Method
UPS Shipping Method
WooCommerce Distance Rate Shipping

Checkout

Customizable
(propriety code)

Customizable
(opens source)

Extending Shopify (apps and APIs)

84 Shopify Plus certified apps on top of the 8,000 available in the Shopify store.

Over 740 apps in the WooCommerce Marketplace and close to 60,000 WordPress plugins

Support

Dedicated Account Manager

Via your WooCommerce development agency and/or hosting provider

The ‘story’ here is that Shopify includes more features out of the box while WooCommerce relies on its marketplace for extensions.

Does this mean Shopify offers a more seamless build experience? Sure. You will have to pay for additional WooCommerce extensions to reach ‘feature parity’.

This shouldn’t be too much of a concern for the typical Shopify Plus customer who is already paying at least $2,000 / month just for the platform fee and has a significant budget to cover e-commerce operations.

The truth is that you will not choose one over the other based on individual features. Unless you’re after truly unique functionality, it’s safe to assume that both offer everything you need.

How Shopify Plus Costs Compare to WooCommerce’s Hosting Stack

It’s not a straightforward comparison as we’re comparing SaaS with open-source – two different business and technical models.

WooCommerce can be set up in many different ways, starting with hosting and taking into account the various pieces of the puzzle – security, caching, backups, admin tools, etc…

It gets even more complex considering the volume, frequency of transactions, and scalability, if the store needs to handle Black Friday-type events.

The following calculations are based on three scenarios: online stores generating $50,000, $100,000, and $250,000 in monthly revenue and an average order value of $50. Of a US-based store selling to US customers.

In all cases, traffic isn’t extreme and there are no special requirements to handle large spikes in visits. The stores have a couple of thousands of SKUs and don’t need more than 100GB of disk space.

Feature

Shopify Plus

WooCommerce

Plan / Hosting Fee

$2,000 / month

Scenario 1
$150 / month (Convesio’s Business Level 2 Plan)

Scenario 2
$350 / month (Convesio’s Business Level 3 Plan)

Scenario 3
$1,000 / month (Convesio’s Business Level 5 Plan)

Transaction Fees

2.15% + 30¢
(Shopify Payments)

2.9% + 30¢
(Stripe Payments)

For Scenario 3 a discounted rate of 2.15% + 30¢ is negotiated with Stripe.

Extensions

0

$200 / month

 

A note about Extensions: Shopify stores install 6 apps on average but in our examples, we’re assuming that all functions are available out of the box and a few WooCommerce extensions are needed to deliver comparable functionality.

Scenario 1 – $50,000 from 1,000 transactions

  • Shopify Plus – $3,375 / month – 6.8% of the store’s revenue
  • WooCommerce – $2,100 / month – 4.2% of the store’s revenue
  • WooCommerce is $1,275 / month cheaper

Scenario 1

 

The clear winner is WooCommerce, but with one caveat: a standard Shopify plan should be able to handle the traffic. This would reduce the plan cost dramatically to match WooCommerce. The question then becomes if a standard level of support will suffice, considering your store is generating $600,000 a year.

Scenario 2 – $100,000 from 2,000 transactions

  • Shopify Plus – $4,750 / month – 4.8% of the store’s revenue
  • WooCommerce – $4,000 / month –  4.0% of the store’s revenue
  • WooCommerce is $750 / month cheaper

Scenario 2

Shopify is still more expensive than WooCommerce but cost as a percentage of the monthly revenue has dropped.

Scenario 3 – $250,000 from 5,000 transactions

  • Shopify Plus – $8,875 / month – 3.6% of the store’s revenue
  • WooCommerce – $8,075 / month –  3.2% of the store’s revenue
  • WooCommerce is $800 / month cheaper

Scenario 3

 

Once you’re generating $3M a year Stripe becomes more expensive. But at this level of sales, a discounted rate can be negotiated, even matching Shopify’s rate.

Using third-party payment gateways with Shopify

You don’t have to use Shopify’s own payment solution but it will be more expensive if you don’t, as a 0.15% transaction fee applies.

Factoring in Shopify Plus Development Costs

When you upgrade to Plus you have access to new tools and features to further extend and customize your online store: custom apps, checkout extensibility, and headless to name a few. But these are not simple functions you can configure via the dashboard. You will need to factor in development costs in your budgeting.

How do these compare to WooCommerce development costs? If we look at Clutch’s Top Shopify Designers & Developers daily rates are similar to what WooCommerce Developers charge. New store builds are priced similarly too.

With this in mind, here are a couple of points to think about:

Upgrading from a standard Shopify plan to Shopify Plus

Look at the numbers to determine whether it’s worth moving off Shopify altogether. The extra money you have to pay each month will cover migration to WooCommerce or some other e-commerce platform.

This may well be an opportunity to put into practice the ideas you had for your store but were held back by Shopify’s limitations.

You’re considering moving from another SaaS e-commerce solution

Have a look at WooCommerce too. You’ll choose a platform that is just as capable and save you money. You will be future-proofing yourself too, investing in a platform that is much more customizable, extensible, and that you fully own.

As mentioned at the start of this article, the opportunity costs are high if you go with Shopify. An idea that is worth expanding on.

Shopify Plus’ hidden cost: the lack of options to expand beyond eCommerce

Shopify is a great e-commerce platform but not much else. You can publish pages and blog posts but not design sophisticated information architecture to underpin aggressive SEO and content marketing efforts. It certainly doesn’t deliver online courses. And setting up a membership or subscription-based website requires installing less-than-optimal plugins.

Choosing Shopify Plus represents a significant investment. You should think about what your next upgrade will be and whether it is flexible enough to deliver what you need, whatever that is. Is Shopify Plus fit for a future purpose?

WooCommerce Stores are More Valuable When You Sell Them

The size of your customer base and financials are the main factors when calculating the value of a business. But you’re also selling assets.

If you’re using Shopify, you’re building on rented land with limited space to grow a business beyond e-commerce.

E-commerce brands that use WooCommerce create additional revenue streams and assets that have values that can be quantified. Think about stores that have built a community around their brand or are publishing great content. Would Red Bull – the King of Content Marketing –  opt for Shopify or WooCommerce if starting out?

Final Thoughts: WooCommerce is a Better Option (In Most Cases)

Shopify Plus is an easy option to get started with e-commerce and shines at the very high end. It’s a solid option for brands that need an e-commerce store serving thousands of SKUs to thousands of customers. Their engineers have nailed the tech for high-volume merchants.

Shopify pricing becomes competitive when you’re generating over $250,000+ in sales a month. You should try and negotiate a better rate with Stripe or whatever payment gateway you are using.

However, for smaller e-commerce stores Shopify Plus is expensive. The favorable rate does not cover the high $2,000 platform fee.

Remember to check the stock price too. A dip in their value may well indicate that a price rise is coming for Shopify Plus too.

The Solution: Upgrade to WooCommerce Instead

For scaleups and the mid-market, WooCommerce is more cost-effective and offers the flexibility you need to extend it and build anything you want. It is the platform of choice for ambitious e-commerce entrepreneurs.

Let’s say you’re generating $10,000 a month and growing 10% month on month, paying $399 / month for Shopify Advanced. Do you pay an extra $1,700 for Shopify Plus, which is much of the same, or use that money to invest in a platform you can own and develop as you want?

WooCommerce works even better on high-performance, scalable WooCommerce hosting, which is what Convesio specializes in. Our WooCommerce customers don’t reach a point where they need to upgrade to ‘Convesio Plus’ and pay us twice as much. All our plans sit on best-in-class infrastructure and our unique auto scaling feature means that you’re only paying for the capacity you’re using.

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